The sun filters through the lace curtains, lands on the doily no one is allowed to touch. The light bounces off the old, scrubbed mixing bowls. The light twists the sounds of the morning: chickens, grumbles, early morning throat clears and tired farts. The sounds of the world waking up.
On the table, beneath a layer of steam, there are wonders. There are biscuits, freshly made and topped with sausage grave and sunnyside eggs. There is bacon. There is a pan of crisped up potato, and there is a jug of orange juice next to the coffee. The orange juice is from concentrate. Everything else is fresh.
There is a peach pie. This is the crowning glory. There it is, fresh and made from scratch. Around it, there are strips of leftover pie crust covered with sugar and cinnamon. Grandma called these pieces “Indian Strips” and when you’re young, you don’t think about what that means; where that name came from. You just eat until you’re too full to eat anymore. And then you go fishing.
You close your eyes and reality shifts. You are lost between two worlds, each viable, each filled with happiness, confusion, betrayal and regret.
You swim through the images in your mind, gasping. If you open your eyes, you will be forever lost, forever wandering, forever chasing what you think of as sleeping. You have convinced yourself of the veracity of dreams.
You are living multiple lies, and several trips back to the well can’t solve that. Returning to the source ain’t gonna work for you. You need to find your own idols to destroy, boy. This ain’t the scouts.
You try to tell the world your story, but the world. Don’t. Care. You try to find your old t-ball coach, but he’s. Not. There. You are corrupted, your files are compromised. You have stretched yourself between two worlds because you could not choose, and, in not choosing, you made the biggest mistake of all.
To sleep. Perchance to never wake again.
There are broken songs in the corners of the room, shards of rhyme and meter. You cast them away from you, but you only change their form. They will live in snippets that get locked into you; they will end up in the legs of your old trousers; whole choruses will hide under piles of dirty laundry.
There is heartbreak oozing from the pages that fill up your bookcase. Your computer is shouting at you. You are lost in a maze of self-doubt and haunting melody. You are facing a barren wasteland.
Outside, there is sun and hope. Inside, there are old food dishes and movie snippets. They dance around the middle school memories that stalk you in your sleep. You can learn so much about yourself from the traumas that you keep.
The TV wants you to know that you are alone. The New Yorker gives you more than you could ever need to read. The food you eat will keep you from dying. What more could you ask for?